North Carolina is home to over 10 million Americans, making it the 9th most populated state in the country. The majority of North Carolina's population is between the ages of 40 to 65, just about to enter retirement age. However, this aging population is predicted to mark a rise in mesothelioma victims discovered over the next few decades; the largest segment of the population is the demographic who worked and lived with asbestos, while the average age of people diagnosed with mesothelioma is 69.
Mesothelioma Cases in North Carolina
In the 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency formally recognized the health hazards of asbestos and began to limit and regulate its use. Unfortunately, for many, these initiatives came too late.
North Carolina has seen numerous mesothelioma cases go to trial, but the outcomes have been mixed.
Winning cases typically display a clear connection between asbestos exposure on the job and the development of mesothelioma later in life. Because mesothelioma has a latency period of 10-50 years, it often requires an experienced lawyer to provide adequate evidence.
Many companies in North Carolina have filed bankruptcy, setting aside trusts that can be used to pay out future victims. In fact, almost all of North Carolina’s original manufacturers have gone this route, which allows them to set aside funds for victims and avoid lawsuits.
North Carolina mesothelioma lawyers sometimes save time and resources through class action suits, which allow numerous victims to pursue claims against a single company. These complex cases ease the burden on victims and their families when handled properly.
Asbestos Use in North Carolina
North Carolina, like the rest of the United States, adopted asbestos heavily during its heyday. The material was respected because of many desirable qualities—it’s fireproof, insulating, inexpensive and abundant. In North Carolina, asbestos was used in countless applications, particularly in manufacturing, construction, shipbuilding and military industries.
Several North Carolina sites are known to have exposed workers to asbestos, including:
- Benedix Brakes, Graham Yates and Ford Brakes
- Humble Oil & Refinery
- North Carolina Shipbuilding Company
- Raleigh Electric Company
- R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
- Sutton Steam Plant
- Wake Forest College
- Air Force Veterans, including mechanics
- Coal miners
- Construction and building workers, including:
- Machinists and mechanics
- Iron workers and steel workers
- Oil refinery workers
- Power and chemical plants
- Railroad workers
- Science labs
- Shipyard workers, builders and Navy veterans
Family members of people who worked around disrupted asbestos may also be exposed to the fibers that led to mesothelioma, as asbestos is known to adhere to clothing and be carried through the air.
North Carolina Asbestos Laws and Regulations
North Carolina closely follows the federal laws and regulations for asbestos handling, emissions and removal. The state also has a training program that must be taken by contractors who may come into contact with asbestos-containing materials, which outlines clear guidelines for these workers.
For example, all homes being demolished must be submitted to the Health Hazards Control Unit, regardless of whether asbestos is known to be present, and a permit may be needed to proceed. Individuals aren’t typically required to obtain permits or training before working on their own home, but experts recommend they employ a certified professional instead.
North Carolina is regulated by several state and federal agencies:
- North Carolina Department of Labor
- North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Health Hazards Control Unit
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Additionally, a few counties have their own regulatory agencies as well:
- Buncombe County’s WNC Regional Air Quality Agency
- Mecklenburg Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, Air Quality
- Forstyle County of Environmental Assistance and Protection
North Carolina Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims
Victims diagnosed with mesothelioma in North Carolina should retain legal counsel quickly. The statute of limitations for mesothelioma cases is 3 years from diagnosis, while wrongful death cases expire 2 years after death.
However, industry lobbyists have persuaded lawmakers in North Carolina to try to tighten these rules. If passed into law, it will give some victims only 30 days from their initial diagnosis to file a claim.
Retaining a North Carolina Mesothelioma Lawyer
North Carolina law can be complex, and lawmakers are trying to make it harder for mesothelioma victims to get fair compensation. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to immediately retain a lawyer who has experience in asbestos cases. Contact our Justice Support team now to learn more about asbestos claims in North Carolina.